May bank holiday weekend sunshine: testing sun cream

Gorgeous sunshine hit London yesterday, so it was the perfect time to test out some sun protection creams. There is an endless range of sun creams out there with the normal sun creams, to clear gels, to sprays. There is a choice of texture, and level of protection to suit everyone.

There is a huge problem in Britain with the attitude to skin protection in the sun, as our weather is so un-reliable when there is the slightest hint of warmth then everyone just jumps out into the sun and cooks themselves in an attempt to get a bit of colour. As a general rule, the colour most people get is red- not a good look. I was out in the sun in Hyde Park yesterday and the amount of people who were lying around nearly naked was astounding- and I can guarantee these people were so desperate to get a ‘tan’ that they skipped any sun cream at all, and are probably suffering today.

Not to sound preachy at all, but its just not fun being sun burned- trust me, I know I have burnt myself enough to have learnt that it is never fun and never ‘turns brown the next day’, the only thing it does is stay red and then peel. I have such pale (and traditionally English) skin that even a full two weeks of August sunbathing in Portugal only left me with a slightly golden colour and a few darker freckles (that is using sun cream) Perhaps if I had skipped it I would have been darker, but who wants to look like a raisin by the time they are 30 when you can get a tan out of a bottle quite easily- I think skin is so important, it deserves to be looked after.

SO, if you have decided that looking after your skin is the way forward below are my reviews of a couple of sun care products that I have managed to try out recently.

Miss Malibu SPF 30 Disappearing Pink Lotion TBC)

Miss Malibu products are really cute, and this tiny pink bottle is the perfect size to throw in your bag so that if you have an impromptu sunny day then you always have some protection on you. I really liked how light this cream was, rubbed in quickly and didn’t leave the greasy film that some sun lotions do. The smell, colour and texture of the lotion really reminded me of baby lotion- which is a really good thing, as I love Johnson’s Baby Lotion, it’s one of by basic beauty staples.

Soltan Once Face SPF 25 (£9.99 from Boots)

Soltan is my usual go-to brand of sun care for the annual summer holiday. Just the smell makes me think of summer sun, so using it in May makes me feel like my fortnight abroad isn’t as long away as it seems. Using specialised face creams for sun protection is really important if you want to prevent skin breakouts that can be caused as most sun care creams are not non-pore blocking, and can be too heavy for the face. They can also make you shine like patent leather. The Soltan cream absorbed quickly and didn’t leave me too shiny, but I did have a quick dust of powder over my nose.

Malibu Babes Sun Gel SPF 15 Sun protection gel with carrot extract TBC)

Another Malibu Babes product, this one isn’t as nice as the disappearing pink lotion. The gel is cooling and water resistant though, so probably more suitable for pool-side holidays rather than lying in Hyde Park. The gel contains various skin-cooling ingredients which mean that you don’t actually need to rub this in, and just let it dry on skin, another reason it is better for hotter climates that London in May.

Sun Pass Mountain Expert SPF 20 Medium Protection Radiant Complexion Cream (£13.30 for 40ml available at Boots)

Sun Pass is the first sun care cream that I have come across that contains bronze pearl particles to illuminate tanned skin. This enhances whatever tan you have and adds a shimmering radiance to skin but without making skin greasy. I have been using this as a day cream recently as an alternative to foundation on sunny days.

Aftersun: AstaSun Skin Support System (£7.99 for 150ml available from & health food stores nationwide)

AstaSUN contains astaxanthin, a powerful anti-oxidant. Antioxidants are important to counteract the ageing effects of the sun on skin, so aftersun products are the perfect place to put them. Even though I slathered sun lotion on all day and largely managed not to burn yesterday, I did manage to miss a few spots on the back of my shoulders. So, to make sure these bits don’t suffer too much I slathered on some AstaSun. AstaSun claims to “protect against UV light and ageing, as well as being a paraben free formula it contains no chemical colours and will help tighten and tone the skin” quite a range of claims for an after-sun, happy to give it a try though!

The smell is interesting, I cant quite place what it reminds me of- a mixture of almond ice cream/marzipan and yoghurt…which is more pleasant that it sounds! Quite a soothing smell, its perfect to apply at the end of a day in the sun. Absorbs quickly and leaves skin as pampered as some of the best body butters out there. My main criticism of AstaSun, which will probably sound a bit picky but I have to be honest- is the pump, it only delivers a very small amount of product, which means that if you wanted to apply the cream all over it would take forever. As I was only applying to a small spot it didn’t matter too much though.

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